Top 11 Landmarks to Visit in Prague, Czech Republic
It’s no secret that Prague combines history, art, culture, and a visit to an enchanting part of the world into one compelling adventure for the luxury traveler.
Explore Prague whether on individual travel, with family, or amongst friends, as a luxury travel destination. Prague, Czech Republic, offers something appealing for every visitor.
Learn how to peer into Prague like a local with the help of travel specialist Lucie, who is on the ground in the Prague, Czech Republic. Exeter International travel expert Lucie reveals the top 11 landmarks that a luxury traveler won’t want to miss while exploring Prague in 2014!
1. Prague Castle
“Since the 9th century,” Lucie writes, “Prague Castle has served as the residence of Czech monarchs and presidents. Over time, the estate was gradually rebuilt and extended. Dominant St. Vitus Cathedral, a gothic masterpiece with many magnificent highlights, contains tombs of the most famous Czech kings and also houses the crown jewels. The Prague Castle is comprised of the entire complex of churches, houses, towers, courtyards and monuments surrounding the residence, including many historical and cultural sights from various periods. It is Prague’s premier attraction.”
2. Strahov Monastery
“The Strahov Monastery complex is a Premonstratensian Abbey founded in 1140 by Prince Vladislav II and the baroque Abbey church of Virgin Mary Ascension. The Strahov Monastery libraries are more than 800 years old and are one of the Europe’s most beautiful bookrooms. The halls of philosophy and theology include almost 900,000 releases, including many illuminated manuscripts and ancient first editions. Since 1953, the monastery has housed the Memorial of National Literature.”
“Loreto is an important pilgrimage site which was founded by the Lobkowicz family in 1626. It was conceived to promote the legend of Santa Casa, a replica of the house believed to be the Virgin Mary’s. Loreto has original fresco pieces, and not to be missed are the collection of sacral objects, especially the famous Diamond Monstrance, which is decorated with an astonishing 6222 diamonds! A 27-bell carillon plays on the hour every hour, a beautiful sound ringing around the courtyard outside.”
“Prague’s oldest preserved bridge, built in 1357 by Czech King Charles IV, stands with towers at each end and 30 baroque statues of saints, carved mainly by Ferdinand M. Brokoff and Matyas B. Braun, two masters considered to be among the best carvers of their time. Every day of the year, among the tourists and statues, dozens of local people set up on the bridge to entertain or to sell items. Not to be missed while in Prague on your travels!”
5. Church of Our Lady Victorious
“In Karmelitská Street, in the Lesser Town district of Prague, stands the Church of Our Lady of Victory. The first Baroque church in Prague (built 1611-1613) belongs to the Barefooted Carmelites, an order that cares for the doll-like, miracleworking 400-year-old Bambino di Praga, the famous statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague. The effigy, brought from Spain to Prague in the 17th century, is said to have protected nuns from the plague. The Infant Jesus of Prague museum is located in the church.”
6. Old Town Square
“The Old Town Square is is the cultural and historical center of the the Old Town. It’s Prague’s oldest square, dating back to the 11th century. The Old Town Square is overlooked by the 14th – 16th century Old Town Hall, a unique gothic tower with the world-famous Astronomical Clock, 14th – 16th century Tyn Church and the baroque St. Nicholas Church. At the centre of the Old Town Square is the Jan Hus statue, erected on the 6th of July, 1915, to mark the 500th anniversary of the reformer’s death.”
7. St. Nicholas’s Church
“St. Nicholas’s Church lies at the centre of the Lesser Town Square (Malostranské náměstí), and is the largest of Prague’s churches founded by the Jesuits. Constructed in 1704- 1756, the church represents one of the most valuable samples of the high Baroque architecture period – both in the Czech lands and in the whole of Europe. In its wonderful interiors, concerts are held all throughout the year. This is also the place where W. A. Mozart played the organ during his stay in Prague!”
8. The Municipal House
“An Art-Nouveau structure completed in 1911 by A. Balsanek and O. Polivka, the Municipal House is built in the place of the former King’s Court, the seat of Czech kings from the end of 14th century to 1483. The building was designed by leading Czech artists, architects and sculptors. One can find here the famous Smetana Hall, a renowned concert hall with 1500 seats and home to the Prag
ue Symphony Orchestra, information center, gallery, as well as the great Francouzska restaurant.”
9. The Powder Tower
“The Powder Tower refers to the late-gothic gateway to the Royal Route used by the Bohemian sovereigns on the way to their coronation in the St. Vitus Cathedral in the Prague Castle. It was built in 1475 by Vladislav Jagello, and in the 17th century, the tower was used as gun powder storage. Today, the Powder Gate houses an exhibition entitled ‘Prague Towers.’ It is also possible to climb the 186 steps inside to reach the viewing platform at 44 metros, and to enjoy spectacular views over the Old Town.”
“The Jewish Quarter in Prague, known as Josefov, is located between the Old Town Square and the Vltava River. Its torrid history dates back to the 13th century, when the Jewish community in Prague were ordered to vacate their disparate homes and settle in one area. Named after the emperor Josef II, whose reforms helped to ease living conditions for the Jewish, the Jewish Quarter contains the remains of Prague’s former Jewish ghetto. As many of the Jewish died during the WWII and were forced by the communist regime to leave the country, the current Prague community numbers 5000 – 6000 people. There are two figures synonymous with this part of the city, Franz Kafka (1883 – 1924) and the mystical humunculus Golem created by Jehuda ben Bezalel, also known as Rabi Löw.”
Prague’s Jewish Quarter’s highlights are as follows:
1. Maisel Synagogue – first part of exhibition of history of Jews in Bohemia and Moravia
2. Spanish Synagogue – second part of exhibition of history of Jews in Bohemia and Moravia
3. Pinkas Syangogue – the memorial to the Bohemian and Moravian Jewish victims of the Holocaust
4. Klausen Synagogue – the permanent exhibition of Jewish customs and traditions
5. Ceremonial Hall – the part section of exhibition of Jewish customs and traditions
6. The Old Jewish Cemetery – one of the most important historic sites in Prague´s Jewish Quarter”
11. National Theatre
“The National Theatre in Prague was built between the years 1868-1881 in Neo-Renaissance style, from funds raised by means of public collections throughout the nation. In 1881, the theatre was destroyed by a great fire and had to be reconstructed. In this same year, it was reopened with a performance of Smetana´s opera “Libuse” composed for this occasion. Nowadays, the National Theatre is a stage of three artistic ensembles: opera, ballet and drama.”
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